Fontaines D.C. - A Hero's Death (1xLP Vinyl)

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A Hero's Death is the second studio album by Irish post-punk band Fontaines D.C. The album was released on 31 July 2020 through Partisan Records, less than 18 months after the release of their debut album Dogrel. The album received critical acclaim upon its release, signifying a partial departure from their bubbling and anxiety-inducing post-punk sound found on their first record to the incorporation of more dream-like and psychedelic aspects having taken inspiration from The Beach Boys, The Pogues, Joy Division, Suicide, Broadcast, Bloc Party, The Libertines to name but some of many influences, during the writing of the record. According to lead singer Grian Chatten, the album's name was inspired by a line in a play by Irish writer Brendan Behan. Chatten said the album title is "an effort to balance sincerity and insincerity, but more broadly it's about the battle between happiness and depression, and the trust issues that can form tied to both of those feelings". The album cover features a statue of the Irish mythological demigod Cu Chulainn entitled "The Dying Cuchulain" by Oliver Sheppard.

This version is the standard black 1xLP version, on 180g heavyweight vinyl.


Hot off the heels of Dogrel, in a crowded UK Punk scene, Fontaines D.C. were wise to pounce off their luck-of-the-draw attention. A Hero's Death simultaneously avoids the sophomore curse by deflecting expectations with such a short turn-around. Though quality isn't as high as Dogrel, the style not changed in the least, Fontaines D.C. has reaffirmed their position as relevant, albeit largely nonessential, revivalists. It may be a haughty scorn, but it's true. Despite my enjoyment of A Hero's Death, especially 'Televised Mind,' 'I Was Not Born,' and 'No,' there's no denying the garden variety image of Fontaines. Especially whilst compared to their far more interesting contemporary Idles, and the gripping upstarts black midi and Black Country, New Road.
In terms of accessibility though, Fontaines D.C. has them all beat. Which, in turn, might prove their success as hopefuls walking in the wake of Landfill Indie. Grian Chatten's monotone drawl is, thankfully, offset by inquisitive lyrics containing both charming nonchalance and inspirational bravado. They're not as direct as, say, 'Roy's Tune' or 'Boys In The Better Land,' with Chatten thinking larger, more obtuse, while being less concerned with Irish squabbles. Though average on the whole, 'A Hero's Death' has some excellent motivational lyrics, as does personal favorite 'I Was Not Born,' with its rolling 90's-esque percussion. On the flip side, Chatten also shows an awareness to intimacy, depression, and the natural dilemma of humanity, as the bookended pair of 'I Don't Belong' and 'No' act as Fontaines D.C.'s two most grounded, disconsolate songs to date. The latter's subtle ray of hope isn't just gorgeous, it's necessary.
All in all, A Hero's Death doesn't quite reach the fervent rambunctiousness of Dogrel, but it's still a worthy successor that'll seal Fontaines D.C.'s position in the Post-Punk scene for at least half a decade. The jury's still out on whether Chatten, and the band, can carry themselves through slower movements, as their attempts on 'Oh Such A Spring' and 'Sunny' struggle to engage and entertain. Those two, plus the discordantly-clunky 'Lucid Dream,' are the worst A Hero's Death has to offer.

By: DozensofDonuts

A1 I Don't Below
A2 Love Is The Main Thing
A3 Televised Mind
A4 A Lucid Dream
A5 You Said
A6 Oh Such A Spring
B1 A Hero's Death
B2 Living in America
B3 I Was Not Born
B4 Sunny
B5 No

1xLP Standard Black Vinyl Version, played at 33rpm.

Catalogue Number: PTKF2182-1

Record Label: Partisan Records